North Korean flag (AFP-Yonhap)
UN sanctions on North Korea are believed to be pressuring the country, even though Pyongyang has tried to evade them, a researcher at a state-run think tank said Tuesday.
Kim Seok-jin, a researcher at the state-run Korea Institute for National Unification (KINU), noted that the North's illicit activities and other efforts to evade sanctions are "insufficient" to blunt the effects of UN sanctions.
"The sanctions are not being implemented perfectly but they seem to be serving the basic purpose of pressuring the North Korean authorities by dealing a serious blow to its economy," Kim said.
The North's annual exports reached around $3 billion from 2012 to 2016 but dropped to nearly one-tenth the amount after harsh sanctions were imposed in 2016, the expert said.
Kim added that the North's illegal economic activities, such as coal smuggling and financial cyber attacks, estimated to bring in millions of dollars a year, are not enough to "compensate for the damage from the sanctions."
He projected the North's sources of income to grow when international trade resumes although it will "be difficult to maintain its level of income compared to what it was in the past in the long-term."
North Korea has claimed to be coronavirus-free, but it has implemented relatively swift and extensive antivirus efforts since early last year, including border controls restricting movement of people and goods. (Yonhap)